Rick Reilly's Mailbag: I wrote, you wrote

July, 8, 2011
7/08/11
10:02
AM PT
JIMMER FREDETTE

I wrote ... BYU's super scorer Jimmer Fredette will be a bust in the NBA because he's too small, too slow and too bored by defense. In fact, I promised to donate $5,000 to Jimmer's favorite charity if he started even one game in his first year, which will be with the Sacramento Kings.

You wrote ...

Jimmer to the Kings following a trade of Beno Udrih. I'll let you off easy and you can just donate $2,500 to me instead of the whole $5k to charity.
~ Mike Barlow (San Antonio)

I will. Soon as you start a game in the NBA.

So Rick, have you started setting aside some money from each paycheck to go towards the charity of Jimmer's choice after he officially starts his first game now?
~ Greg Jones (Houston)

Yes, I've been selling all the razor blades BYU fans have been sending me in envelopes. It adds up.

What is Jimmer's favorite charity? I'm dying to know where your $5,000 is going.
~ Jerry Izu (Valencia, Calif.)

Jimmer represents The Biceps Project. It's a program to help incurable gunners ice their shooting arms.

RORY MCILROY

I wrote that golf has been starving for a new superstar and that superstar arrived at the U.S. Open with a mind-melting performance from Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.

You wrote ...

Take it a step farther and look at the backgrounds of the European golfers and the U.S. born players. Rory, Westwood, McDowell and a number of others all come from working class families who had to make big sacrifices for them to pursue golf. Parents had to work two jobs. The majority of our guys are country clubbers with a sense of entitlement instilled in them from the time they start junior golf. Give me the kid who had to make a 10-foot put to pay his rent at some point in his career over a kid that misses and gets in his BMW ...
~ Steven Caruso (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

Why we love Rory: First, he handled the Masters loss like a gentleman. Second, this guy can flat play. Third and most important, on Father's Day he reminded all of us what our fathers taught us, to be gentlemen, to be genuine and be men that people respect. He made us all feel good and isn't that what sports are supposed to do?
~ Allen Jordan (Cold Spring, N.Y.)

After McIlroy wins ONE tournament, albeit a major with a dominant wire-to-wire performance, golf is saved? Puh-leeeze! The kid's photogenic enough (he reminds me of Danny in "Caddyshack"), he's proven he's not afraid of microphones and he's obviously got talent, but one European Tour win in 72 starts since 2007 and one PGA win doesn't have me calling the Vatican and telling them to get the white-smoke machine ready. {Editor's note: McIlroy has won three tournaments as pro.} ~Bruce Baskin (Chehalis, Wash.)

Please move to Ireland because I'm tired of hearing your bull!! Rory's got 1 major. When he gets to 14, call me and then you will have an argument.
~ Jeffery Jones (Jemison, Ala.)

What's 14 got to do with it? How about just one more sometime soon? That would be an improvement over what we've got in this Tiger vacuum -- 11 different winners in the last 11 majors. The game is dying for somebody -- anybody! -- to lead the peloton and McIlroy has the wheels for it.

TIGER WOODS

I wrote Tiger will still catch Nicklaus' 18 majors, even if it's a very empty boat I'm sitting in.

You wrote ...

I know you're still in love with Tiger but if you think he's going to catch Jack's record you're crazier than Charlie Sheen. Yes, I know Tiger's still ahead of Jack's pace but Jack was a healthy 35. Not a 4 knee surgeries, swing is such a wreck I have no clue where it's going off the tee and I can't make a putt into a 50 gallon drum 35 like Tiger is right now. As Lee Trevino said in an interview the other day, if Tiger doesn't figure out how to swing without putting so much pressure on his left knee, the final chapter of his story has already been written.
~ Jimmy Stucky (Auburn, Ala.)

51 bucks sez Tiger doesn't pass Jack. Why 51? The fitty I'll spend. The Washington you'll sign in silver Sharpie that says, "I lost to Jake." I'll frame it and no, you can't substitute it for a check. One of the reasons why Tiger won't pass Jack, nobody on tour likes Tiger and they'll do anything to stop him. It literally will be, for rest of his career, "Tiger against the field."
~ Jake (Dallas)

If nobody on tour likes Tiger, why didn't they do "anything to stop him" 14 majors ago? If you find me and we can shake on it, you and your $51 are on.

I take exception to your comments on the McIlory win at the U.S. Open when you allude to the better suitability for him to be the face of golf as opposed to Tiger Woods. This win at the Open was amazing and a joy for any golf fan; I just don't understand who made you judge and jury over Tiger Woods. You may not like his personal behavior but how dare you try to belittle and demean his accomplishments. I don't like how he conducted his personal life but I appreciate and acknowledge all he has accomplished out on the course. You should too.
~Michelle Moffitt-Simon (Bedford, Texas)

Wait. What? Who says I don't like him? I'm just saying the new Boss of Golf is McIlroy for now. That's clear. He'll be the favorite in every major until Tiger can prove that his knee is healthy and his swing is healthy and his mind is healthy enough to win majors again. But I've never stopped saying Tiger still will win majors and will still pass Jack, unlike 95 percent of my colleagues. I get what a boon Tiger has been to players, fans and journalists. He put golf in the A segment of SportsCenter again. But now his career is at the bottom of the bird cage and he's got to rebuild it. Until he does, McIlroy is the new Man.

USGA

I wrote the USGA's cutesy "comfort" pairings in the two opening rounds now of the U.S. Open is an advantage for those lucky enough to get them.

You wrote ...

Far worse than the, as you call them, "cutesy" Spanish, Italian and Swedish pairings was the racist "Asian" pairing the USGA put together of Ishikawa, Yang and Kim. While it's debatable whether they should have done it or not, I understand why the USGA chose the players they put together in the Spanish, Italian and Swedish groups --because they actually were Spanish, Italian and Swedish. But, wow, Ishikawa, Yang and Kim? What, exactly, do they have in common? Hmmm ... you think the USGA gave Kim his choice of a Honda, Toyota or Hyundai as a courtesy car?
~Doug (Apex, N.C.)

It reminds me of a joke.
Two Americans sitting at the bar, talking. One is Jewish and the other is of Chinese descent. They are getting a little deep into their cocktails when the Jewish guy turns and slugs the Chinese guy in the jaw.
"What was that for?!?" asks the Chinese guy.
"That was for Pearl Harbor!" the Jewish guy says.
"Pearl Harbor?" asks the Chinese guy. "That was the Japanese, not the Chinese!"
"Japanese, Chinese," says the Jewish guy. "What's the difference?"
They sit there a little longer, the Chinese guy rubbing his jaw. Suddenly, he turns and punches the Jewish guy.
"What was that for?!?" asks the Jewish guy.
"That was for the Titanic!" the Chinese guy says.
"Titanic?" says the Jewish guy. "That was an iceberg!"
"Iceberg, Steinberg," he says. "What's the difference?"


LEBRON JAMES

I wrote, after Game 3 of the NBA Finals, that criticism of LeBron James for "shrinking" in the fourth quarter was moronic. James dominated the game in other ways -- passing, defense, screens -- and besides, he'd already come up massive in fourth quarters against Boston and Chicago.

You wrote ...

Are you still standing by the article you wrote last week that claims LeBron James is coming up as big as ever on both ends of the court? Just wondering.
~ Tommy (Breezy Point, N.Y.)

No, I am not. I was wrong. I'm an idiot. I am currently trying to get the byline changed on that column. When Gregg Doyel of CBSsports.com asked James the question -- "Why are you shrinking in fourth quarters?" -- after Game 3, I thought he was huffing paint. Now I realize Doyel was seeing something before the rest of us. Gregg Doyel, I apologize. I will never doubt you again -- until the next time.

How about another nickname for James, since he seems to disappear in the 4th quarter ...Lebronymous.
~ Marthe Walsh (Wiloughby Hills, Ohio)

Ooooh, that's really good. Or ... The Frozen One?

I'm tired of hearing (James) is a "facilitator" ... 6'8 and 255 is not a facilitator... if he wants to "play big," drive the lane like a linebacker, and get a post game ... leave the facilitating to guys who aren't the most naturally gifted athlete on the planet.
~ Mike (Detroit)

James is the best passing forward in NBA history, {if you go by apg} but that's like being the most beautiful Broadway chorus girl. What the Heat needed was the lead, the star of the show, the huge voice that rattles the theater chandeliers and they didn't get it. I expect a more selfish James on the court next year and a more humbled one off it. But I've been wrong before. (See above.)

And, just to prove I haven't cornered the market on Jell-O-brained statements, there was this:

I get that Dirk Nowitzki is an all-time legend. I understand that he deserves a ring. I get that Jason Terry and Jason Kidd both deserve them. Here's the reason it's a competition, the winner gets the ring. I don't want to watch this series to make sure Dirk or Jet or Kidd get their rings. I want to watch it to see who's the better team. If NBA rings were about who deserved them, almost every professional basketball player should have one. This isn't kindergarten, it's dog-eat-dog, may the best man win. And the better team will be the Heat.
~ Laki Politis (Wellington, Fla.)

No, there is one person who didn't deserve a ring in that series and that was James. For him to win a ring immediately upon switching teams for the sole purpose of winning one -- and in such a ham-brained way -- would be like Bill Gates' kid hitting Publisher's Clearinghouse. He can wait.

I don't understand how -- since the NBA draft that produced LeBron, Carmelo and D-Wade -- Carmelo has been rated the least of the three. He has averaged roughly the same amount of points, rebounds and assists and field goal percentage as James. He played like a man possessed for the Knicks during the playoffs and without Stoudemire and Billups and NEVER worked harder to get the ball in his hands and when he had it he was the best player in the arena. The Knicks will someday be grateful that LeBron took his talents to South Beach and allowed Carmelo to energize the greatest arena in all of sports. When it's said and done Anthony will be more heralded than Mr. James.
~Brian Harrington (Syracuse, N.Y.)

I'll tell you how he's rated third, because he is. Wade has been to two Finals. James has been to two Finals -- one with a lot of nobodies. Anthony has been to zero. Not enough? Look at their career numbers so far:
James 27.7 pts, 7.1 rbs, 7.0 assists
Wade 25.4 pts, 5.1 rbs, 6.3 assists
Anthony 24.8 pts, 6.3 rbs, 3.1 assists


But I'll give you this. He's been WAY better than Darko Milicic.

J.J. BAREA

I wrote that J.J. Barea of the Mavs is my personal hero in that he tore the heart out of the Heat and Lakers defenses at only 5-foot-9, plus he's funny and polite. Oh, and he's dating Miss Universe.

Mario Chalmers is MY new hero. He's kicking Barea's ass. And I HATE Miami.
~ Gowdy (Chicago)

Really? Once Barea became a starter in Game 4, the Mavs never lost again. He got into the paint more than Sherwin-Williams. Even his misses made for easy follows. He drove Erik Spoelstra batty. In the final two killer games, he averaged 16 points and five assists.The only thing that kicked Barea's ass was the trophy, which was almost too big for him to carry.

Nice article on J.J. Barea. FYI, Puerto Ricans don't eat "taquitos." Barea and Miss Universe would be insulted. We are sensitive about these things. Try pasteles or mofongo next time if you're looking for a good PR food reference. The stuff will kill you faster than a Johnsonville brat but pretty tasty nevertheless.
~ Israel Hernandez (San Francisco)

Then please explain why there's a restaurant in Puerto Rico called "El Taquito." ( Also: "Mofongo" would be a terrific intramural team name.)

MOUTHPIECES AND T-SHIRTS

I wrote that there's two new trends that make the NBA less digestible. One is everybody in the arena wearing the same ugly T-shirt. Two is players constantly letting their mouthguards hang out, even as they play.

You wrote ...

Have you ever played a sport that required a mouthpiece? You chew on them because they are in your mouth but not comfortable to just have chilling all the time. You chew on them just to do something besides breathe through it. What the hell is LeBron supposed to do with it when he takes it out that would be less gross? Should they pay someone to carry around a mouthpiece holder for him or something?
~ Fred (Edison, N.J.)

Let me think. What would be less gross than LeBron James taking his slobbery mouthpiece and sticking it in his headband during timeouts? ... Anything! There are some things you shouldn't have to see. Tiger hocking a loogie on a green. Dugout Toilet Cam. Dripping mouthguards not in mouths.

Interesting that on your list of "towns" that have gone the homogeneous tee shirt playoff look, conspicuous by their absence were four "cities" ... New York, Philly, Chicago and Boston. All with real fans and great hoops pedigree.
~ Edward Seeling (Philadelphia)

RONCALLI GIRLS SOFTBALL

A little over a year ago, you wrote a magnificent piece on the Roncalli (Indianapolis) High School softball team that volunteered time and money to (teach softball to) an inner city school (opponent). I wanted to let you know that they just won the state title this year. They had to overcome the death of a teammate. About a month ago Katie Lynch lost her battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma and passed away, devastating the entire school. Through all of this, the girls and the coaching staff pulled together to accomplish what Katie had always said was her ultimate goal, winning a state title.
~ Clayton Steele

NFL LOCKOUT

I wrote that the owners forcing this lockout when they are making obscene amounts of money is unconscionable. And if I didn't, I should have.

You wrote ...

What can we do as fans to punish the NFL owners? They have more money than God, and we all know they are dragging this out to finally hit the players in the pocket book and force them to cave. I blame the owners and want to support the players by hitting the owners where it matters most. I already tried throwing pennies at Richardson's office and was threatened with jail. The owners disgust me and I want to show them. Please help! Thanks!
~ Rich Maletto (Charlotte, N.C.)

I checked in with this guy to see if he really did throw pennies at Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson's office. He said he tried but was stopped by security and wound up throwing them half-heartedly at the guard, but he vows to try again.
People! In no way do I condone throwing pennies at NFL owners' offices to protest their money-grubbing ways in this NFL lockout.
.

I prefer nickels

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